Pune, Ahmednagar have walls stained in red

Hindustan Times, Pune | ByAbhay Khairnar and Nadeem Inamdar
Jul 15, 2018 03:26 PM IST

After an Ahmednagar head constable who was ordered to clean stained walls for chewing tobacco in court was suspended, HT takes a look at how clean government offices in the city are

Ahmednagar superintendent of police (SP), Ranjan Kumar Sharma, has directed his police force to desist from chewing and spitting tobacco in public places after a police head constable was ordered to clean two stained walls of the district court or face legal action by a district judge. The head constable was suspended by the SP for chewing tobacco on the court premises.

In spite of being a government-run one, almost all the walls of Sassoon General Hospital are covered in stains.(SANKET WANKHADE/HT PHOTO)
In spite of being a government-run one, almost all the walls of Sassoon General Hospital are covered in stains.(SANKET WANKHADE/HT PHOTO)

The incident happened on July 11 when district judge AR Navandar saw head constable Baban Limbaji Salve chewing tobacco in the court room, while producing some prisoners for a hearing.

When the judge asked the constable about it, he said he was eating supari (betel nut). The judge then asked another policeman to check what the constable was chewing and it was confirmed that he was chewing tobacco.

The infuriated judge then asked the constable to either clean the tobacco-stained walls in the court premises or face action from the court. Salve immediately rushed to get a bucket of water and cloth and cleaned two walls of the court. Following this, the incident had become a talking point in the court and the police department.

Salve, who was suspended from duty by the SP for chewing tobacco in court, declined to speak to HT when contacted over telephone.

Ahmednagar SP Sharma said, “The constable has been suspended after the incident. All police personnel and officers have been directed to not chew tobacco in public places. Our government is executing the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan and I have instructed all officers to ensure that the walls in police stations and buildings are not stained.”

Chewing tobacco rampant at RTO, commissionerate

Chewing tobacco and then spitting it on the walls of staircases and washrooms is rampant in the Pune police commissionerate, regional transport office (RTO) and the government-run Sassoon Hospital, a spot visit by HT has revealed.

At the Pune municipal corporation’s (PMC) head quarters in Shivajinagar, visitors and some staff members were found to be spitting chewed tobacco on toilet walls. Many of the walls were painted recently as PMC is the executing authority for Swacch Bharat Mission in the city.

At the Pune police commissionerate, the walls in the male toilet blocks located near the main entrance, and near the anti-dacoity cell, were found to be heavily stained in red with tobacco/gutkha/paan stains. This was in addition to the foul stench from toilets, which is a regular feature as a result of poor maintenance and upkeep.

When asked about the sorry state of affairs, Vaishali Jadhav Mane, assistant commissioner of police (admin), said that this was happening despite repeated instructions against spitting tobacco on the commissionerate premises. The parking area and commissionerate canteen are among the popular spots for spitting chewed tobacco.

The upkeep, cleanliness and maintenance of the commissionerate premises comes under the direct supervision of the PMC administration wing, headed by an additional commissioner (admin) rank officer, along with a deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner for overall supervision.

Similarly, the regional transport office (RTO) and Sassoon Hospital were among the most heavily stained premises as a result of regular spitting by visitors. The warning signs against the despicable habit did not seem to deter anyone.

Sandeep Thakare, a resident of Wakad, said that it was important to take strict action against those who were defacing public property in this manner. He pointed out that people working in these offices were found to be munching tobacco often and paan masala during duty hours and were among those who spat in their own office premises.

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